Module 1- LET S TALK ABOUT MY EDUCATION

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1 Module 1 LET S TALK ABOUT MY EDUCATION I Learn key facts about the British education system & the qualifications it offers. A Reading Task 1 Fill in the blanks with one of the words in the box below ALevels a Bachelor s degree undergraduate an undergraduate student a Master s degree graduate student graduates a postgraduate graduation a PhD a thesis Introduction In this article, I give an overview of the career path for a scientist in UK academia, from school at 18 years old, to a senior academic research appointment. The article is aimed at those unfamiliar with the education system in the UK and with the meaning and distinction between the words undergraduate and postgraduate. It is intended as a guide for those who are thinking of a career in UK academic science. Getting to University This document is not about how to get into a UK university, as an undergraduate (see below). However, for the sake of completeness I ve written the following few lines. The UK is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scotland has a different education system to England and Wales (I don t know about Northern Ireland). In England and Wales, most students study 3 or 4 between the ages of 16 and 18. A stands for Advanced and since you only study three subjects; Alevel courses tend to cover scientific subjects in much more depth than in countries where more subjects are studied before university. Undergraduate 1

2 is a student who has yet to obtain their first degree. In the UK a first degree is normally a. For example: Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Arts (BA), etc. Bachelor s degrees take either 3 or 4 years to complete. The process of awarding the first degree is called and so once the degree is awarded, the student is referred to as. As a consequence, a student who is studying beyond their bachelor s degree is called a postgraduate student. This is sometimes shortened to though this is an import from the USA where that is the normal term. Postgraduate A postgraduate student will be studying for a higher degree. A Higher degree may be or. A Master of science (M.Sc.) degree is normally a one year taught course with lectures, but with a significant research project as well. Masters courses usually aim to take graduates and educate them in a specialised area that would not normally be covered in an degree. Alternatively, the Masters course may allow graduates of one discipline to gain a good understanding of a different discipline. The Ph.D. The Ph.D. is open to with a UK Bachelor s degree or equivalent qualification from outside the UK, there is no need to do a UK first. The traditional UK Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy) lasts for 3years. The postgraduate student works fulltime with a research supervisor on a project the supervisor has suggested. The student will learn the research techniques prevalent in the supervisor s laboratory, should also learn to write scientific papers for publication and gain experience of presenting their results orally with appropriate visual aides and through other media (e.g. poster presentations). The student has to writeup their work in that must be a reasonably selfcontained work on the subject. Finally I started writing this document after explaining what scientific career options were available to one of my Ph.D. students. I hope that if you have read this you will now be slightly more familiar with the mysteries of an academic career in UK science! About the author Geoff Barton is professor of bioinformatics and codirector of the postgenomics and molecular interactions centre at the RAE 5*rated University of Dundee School of Life Sciences Research. 2

3 2 Find the words in the text which mean A position as an teacher/ researcher a in a university ( 2 words) To give/ confer ( a degree) To attempt to reach a certain goal To continue( for a specified period of time) The person who supervises your work on your thesis Scientific articles BListening task: a video tutorial How to talk about your educational background or academic qualifications This important subject could come up in your personal life or in an academic or professional context. NB : it is common to use contractions when talking about your qualifications. a BA is short for a Bachelor of Arts a BSc is short for a Bachelor of Science an MA is short for a Master of Arts an MBA is short for a Master of Business Administration an MSc is short for a Master of Science Fill in the table Subject Verb Degree Preposition +Subject studied Preposition + Institution Tom Maria Hassan Olga 3

4 Raj Using the verb to graduate Subject Verb Prep + Institution Prep + Degree Prep +Subject Olga Raj Tom Maria Hassan II Language skills 1 Put the verbs in brackets in the active or passive form. Add a preposition where necessary Example: I was lucky to be accepted by my favourite university I was lucky ( to accept ) my favourite University The students ( to choose) based on their abilities Marie Curie was the first woman (to award) the Nobel Prize The course ( to cover) many subjects Science subjects ( to study) in great depth 4

5 The course ( to evaluate) on the practical side too Students ( to teach) basic skills I did not want ( to specialize) too early I ( to interest) all sorts of subjects A firstyear student ( to know) an undergraduate The MSc ( to dominate) a research project Bachelor s degrees ( to grade) 1 st, 2 nd or 3 rd class I hope (to graduate) a BSc in maths Bachelor s Degrees take 3 to 4 years (to complete) The course ( to make up) different modules The first semester ( to spend) revising basic concepts The programme ( to design) to prepare you for undergraduate study I hope ( to embark) on a scientific career 5

6 2Choose the right verb: (to) do/ (to make) / (to) go to & complete the following sentences Choose a course that suits what you want.. I decided.. a science degree I would like.. an engineering school I want a course in programming I have a lot of work. I d like research in robotics You don t need a UK Master s degree to embark on a PhD I have a request. Students need.. an online application You can. a semester abroad Not all students can a prestigious University You ve got a chance.. some lifelong friends III Revision + Writing task 1 Let s check that you know the equivalents for 6

7 Un diplôme universitaire ( one word) Une licence lettres/humanités Une licence scientifique Un master Un master lettres/ humanités Un master scientifique Un cursus/ une UE 2Tick all the correct suggestions. Careful, some of them are not correct! To be in To make To study To pass To do To graduate To follow To attend To succeed Computer science A BSc The first year of a BSc a school studies progress a decision A Bachelor s degree For a degree A subject At university A BSc An exam A course in programming Biology One year of maths A diploma With a BSc in maths A class Two or three years of study A school A course A seminar An exam In your study objectives 7

8 To earn A salary A degree 2 Write 10 to 12 sentences about your education. Which tense will you use with last year? with This year? with Next year/ in the next few years? You may use the the following hints Last year I my Baccalaureat I (not )to take a year off To decide to go to University To choose This year To study To be an undergraduate student To specialise To do a science course specializing in To do To be in the first year In three years I hope to graduate from.. with.. After that I will probably 8

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